Over the past few years the country’s main media companies have spent millions creating the integrated newsrooms of the future to keep up with the demands of a fragmented audience. RNZ has made similar multi-media moves (and even changed its name recently to mark its cross-platform aspirations), but as a government-funded, non-commercial broadcaster it has had to make these changes within its existing budget, which hasn’t changed for eight years. But last week the Radio New Zealand Amendment Bill was passed after being under consideration for ten years, finally providing clarification for RNZ’s commercial capacity as well as its values, new and old, as New Zealand’s national broadcaster.
Browsing: John Barr
For the first time (for the most part) in eight years, government-funded RNZ has invested in paid advertising in Auckland, collaborating with Rainger and Rolfe, as part of its goal to double its audience by 2020 and promote the ‘RNZ’ insignia.
The Campbell Live saga has shown that commerce and current affairs often make uneasy bedfellows. But across on a different medium, the publicly funded Radio New Zealand and the commercially minded NZME are jumping into bed, with iHeartRadio now streaming Radio New Zealand National, Radio New Zealand Concert and Radio New Zealand International. And both sides think it’s a win-win.
Back in 2007, Radio New Zealand kicked off the Sounds Like Us campaign, which entailed creating ten radios in the style of iconic New Zealand cultural expressions, from wool sheds to gumboots to pavlovas (2007 was also the year its funding was frozen). Another five models were added in subsequent design contests in following years, constructed by the sharp tacks at Weta Workshop, and then exhibited at galleries around the country. It was a nice branding exercise on the part of the public service broadcaster, and it won an Axis Award last year, and now the concept is being extended into the wearable arts, with RNZ selling t-shirts at its new online store for $34.95.
Supporters of publicly-funded media in New Zealand are feeling fairly tormented at present, with the National Government’s apparent ‘nice to have’ stance manifesting itself in a five year funding freeze for Radio New Zealand and the imminent switch-off of TVNZ7. But Nielsen’s Year That Was report, which includes info on New Zealand media trends, has provided more proof of the importance—and popularity—of Radio New Zealand National by showing it was the top ranking radio station in New Zealand in 2011 with a market share of 11.1 percent.